Today, summer care transitioned to Pre-K 4 for Tot. For him, that just means a bit more structure in the classroom he already attends. They have a looser summer schedule, as they should.
He was still excited to "start school" again.
While I quickly made a sign for the requisite pictures, he drew a rainbow for his teacher. He had a mishap with his name, so we converted that section to hearts. It wasn't his plan, but he rolled with it and then was so pleased to have two hearts on his picture. I was so pleased that his teacher was so gracious and loving when he give it to her. Having this particular teacher wasn't the plan a year ago, but we rolled with it, and we are so pleased that his heart is safe with hers.
Tot has decided he wants to have his birthday party at "Chucker Cheese". That's not a typo, and I'll thank you kindly NOT to correct him. He has never been to the aforementioned establishment, yet knows of its existence and of birthday parties hosted there. For the record, good job, PBSKids programming, as that is the only advertising on that station around here. We have not yet consented to this request. On one hand: it could save me TONS of time planning an obstacle course "American Ninja Warrior" style. On the other hand: that place gives me the germophobic hives.
Me: Do you want to have your party where your friend had her party Saturday?
Tot: No. That is Larry's. I want to go to Chucker Cheese.
Me: What do they have at Chucker Cheese?
T: They have....games. And cheese.
Tot is a typical kid. Whatever "typical" means. He is mostly happy, sometimes pouty. He does get angry, but he gets over it quickly. If he's whiny, my money is on hungry, but sometimes with a side of tired. He is smart and talkative and playful and ACTIVE. He's never shy, but he may have to warm up to a new crowd. He's funny and weird and loving. The child makes up the most ridiculous jokes. They never make sense but are always hilarious (to him). If he could he would do nothing other than be glued to a screen. We pretty strictly limit weekday screen time, so he is "forced" to look at books or play outside or inside - which he is also happy to do once he gets started.
What I love is how much he is absorbing in terms of learning. Before 2, he could identify circles consistently. We didn't even know his class was "working on" shapes. He was playing in an inflatable pool, pointed to a design (circle) and declared it so. The first color he learned was "oin" or orange. He could identify a few other colors before two, but orange has always been his favorite. His second favorites have changed as he has gotten older. Right now, second is strongly red.
We knew when he was working on letters and sounds. We thought it was Amazing and Adorable when he started uttering the first "a-a-apple. That starts with "A"!" about a year ago. That is actually still impressive to us because he is better at it and does it with random words he hears that we know he hasn't "studied" in school.
He loves to count, and we exploit that a bit. To quiet the "how long until we are there" line of questioning, we ask him to count to a certain number - usually 100*. Sometimes, he asks how long, and we tell him 10 minutes. He expects to count to 10 and be there. I have asked him to count to 60 10 times, with me keeping track of the repetitions. It's not boring to him or annoying to us, and it gives him good practice in both counting and learning time frames.
He is going into math now. He had six grapes and ate them all. MH gave him four from his own plate. Tot blurted, "That makes TEN grapes!" Another day, he asked why we built doors on our house. I told him that they kept flies out and kept our home secure (referring to exterior doors). In his head, he counted the exterior doors - 3 (from my lap in the rocking chair). Then he scrolled through his memory and numbered the interior doors and came up with 6 that are to specific rooms in our house. I pointed out two doors to closets (I forgot closets IN rooms). He added those to the 6 other ones and announced "That makes eight! And three other doors makes ELEVEN! We have eleven doors!" I was so shocked and proud and amazed all at the same time. His correctly counting the rooms -in his head. His adding the closets to the interior doors then adding ALL the doors. I love this learning. I love witnessing it and contributing to it. I love this stage. I am so happy to be able to experience him and all that goes with him.
*We are weird parents (I think). We do not have DVD players in our cars. We do not own a portable DVD player. We do have a Kindle Fire, but we only allow it in the car for long trips. We let him babble and sing and talk and look at books until we are all tired of the noise. I've asked MH if we are mean or weird because of our technology limits (especially in the car), and we both agree that his talking and singing doesn't bother us as a general rule. I will say that he is handed technology sooner on a return trip than a departing one!
Sunday, we took an outing to a state park to climb Pinnacle Mountain. Tot was so excited to go on an mountain climbing adventure. As we drove and the mountain came into view, Tot said, "I have good skills to climb THAT." We carried a large cup of cool water to sip on as we climbed in the August heat. Tot started calling it "gas". And if he got winded, he'd ask for "some more gas". We didn't make it all the way to the top. We were walking right along when MH mentioned turning around to go back. Tot said, "Okay." Then he turned around and passed us heading down. He wanted to go to the playground. It was nice to spend some time together being active and outside!
After our adventure, we went to some friends' house for dinner. These friends' youngest grandkids are older than Tot, so there's not a lot in the way of entertainment for Tot when we are there. He found a perfect spot for Kindle watching.